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Government must pay up over Hillsborough

Published 29/04/2016

While one major injustice over Hillsborough appears close to being rectified, another remains as a stain on the British Establishment.

While nothing can compare to the horrors experienced by the 96 and their friends and families, I am sure all of the 54,000 people who were in the ground that day suffered trauma and extreme mental anguish as a result of what they witnessed, which continues to some degree to this day.

This was not a car-crash event, seen for a fleeting moment and causing a sharp intake of breath. All spectators could not flee and were required by the police to stay where they were, ringside at the unfolding tragedy, as the dead and dying were carried across the ground and laid out, in the case of the Nottingham Forest fans, in a long line of corpses in front of them.

But when Her Majesty's justices were called upon to agree on who was financially responsible for the tragedy they cleverly ruled that, while admitting such events could cause serious mental trauma to the thousands who observed it first-hand and close up, only those whose relatives were among the dying could claim financial compensation.

It may seem crass and unthinking to talk about compensation at a time of such tragedy, but history will surely judge that there was not just an Establishment cover-up over who was to blame for Hillsborough, but a financial stitch-up, which ensured that those who should have met the cost of that culpability kept their fortunes intact.

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